tv Charlie Rose WHUT February 8, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to the program. we talk this evening about the legality of same-sex marriage with david boies who argued the case that was confirmed by an appellate court in california. >> if you look at the way racial equality developed, a critical turning point was when it became no longer respectable to discriminate based on race. i think it has become no longer respectable to discriminate based on somebody's sexual orientation. and when you see that happening, the law has to follow. >> rose: we continue this evening with ben brafman, a lead, attorney who represented dominique strauss-kahn here in new york. >> i've often said that if you have a bad press day but you win the case no one will ever remember the bad press day and
if you have a good press day at the cost of winning the case no one will ever remember the good press day if you, in fact, lose the case. so i think we need to look at the end game and the end game is how you survive and how you either get a case dismissed or go to trial without having compromised any of the defenses available. >> rose: we conclude this evening with pico iyer who writes about his obsession with the british novelist graham greene. >> the deeper the conversation you have with a close friend, the less you want to leave that conversation for much more superficial encounter and the smallest thing in graham greene will move me now, was the close friend. you know how with a wife or somebody you know well you'll hear a pause in a sentence or see the way she moves her hair back and you realize the emotions behind that. >> rose: david boies, ben brafman and pico iyer when we continue.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: california's ban on same-sex marriage has been declared unconstitutional by the ninth circuit federal court of appeals. the ban known as proposition 8 was approved by voters in 2008 the court said the measure serves no purpose and has no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in california. the ruling has refocused national attention on the issue of same-sex marriage. questions remain over whether the case will reach the supreme court. joining me is david boies, a founding partner in a law firm boies schiller and flext ere. he is one of the leading attorneys who argued to overturn
prop 8 so i'm pleased to have him back on this program. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: is there anything surprising about this court of appeals ruling? >> not really surprising. it is a narrowly crafted opinion. they could have written a broader opinion and from the argument, you couldn't tell whether they were going to look at this fm a very broad perspective. and that is whether banning gay and lesbian marriages violates the constitution nationally or whether they were going to focus particularly on the issues related to california. they chose to focus on the narrow issues that are particularly related to california. the reasoning is very broad, but the actual holding is quite narrowly crafted. >> rose: so what impact does that have in terms of same-sex marriage around the country? >> it does two things. first, it establishes the marriage equality in california which has by itself more than 10% of the population and together with new york which
legislatively enacted marriage equality earlier this year, you now have both new york and california, the two really cultural centers of the country both enforcing marriage equality. i think that's going to have an effect on the country socially and politically. the second thing from a legal standpoint is that the order of the court and the opinion of the court-- although narrowly crafted to california-- the reasoning is sufficiently broad so that you can understand why all states should be compelled to have marriage equality. >> rose: is it automatic that the supreme court will likely grant... >> no, no, it's not automatic. different people have expressed different views. jeffrey toobin in the "new yorker" law blog predicts that the united states supreme court will not take the case because of how narrowly it's crafted and drawn. i think it's hard to tell. >> and if they do they will be
saying what? that we see an issue of constitutional law here? >> yes, they have to. they'd have to say we see an issue of constitutional law that is unsettled and i think one of the reasons why a number of legal scholars think the united states supreme court might not take it is because the united states supreme court decided a case call involving colorado, called roemer... >> rose: the gauche. >> colorado had taken away the power of localities to promote equal rights for gays and lesbians. and what the court said is that you can't take away a right if it's from a disfavored class and you take away that disfavored class and only that disfavored class and that's exactly what happened in california.
because california... in california people had a right under state law, under the state constitution, to get married. and proposition 8 took that away. so that is a distinction between california and most other states. >> rose: did you and ted argue this together, ted olson? >> yes, we did. >> rose: that's an amazing circumstance. what brought the two of you together on this issue on the same side because you've been on on side sides in gore v. bush. >> yes and on a number of other issues. >> rose: a number of things, yes. >> well, this is... we're friends and we've been looking for something to work together on and this was an issue that had influenced both of us for a considerable part of time. >> rose: influenced? >> yes, something that was important to us that we felt needed to be addressed. ted, for example, years ago when he was a justice department
lawyer wrote an opinion saying that it was not permissible not to promote somebody within the justice department because of their sexual orientation at a time when not a lot of people were taking that position. so this is something that ted has been supportive of for a long time, as i have. so when this opportunity came to work together but on an issue that both of us felt very strongly about, it was an ideal situation. >> rose: if you look at the composition of the supreme court and the frequency of 5-4 decisions, is it likely to be that kind of issue that would lead to another 5-4 in which you would have to have a swing justice? >> i hope not. and i think not. >> rose: so looking at how they have spoken to this kind of issue you would assume it wouldn't be that close because of what... >> i think so.
you have the roemer decision and the roemer decision was 5-4 but once the romer decision is controlling law you would expect that justices... even justices who might not have written the roemer decision the way it came down would just following precedent would be supportive of marriage equality in this particular case. in addition to that, this country has moved tremendously on this issue over the last few years. there's a recent gallup poll that shows that 53% of the country favors gay and lesbian marriage. only 35% of the country opposes marriage equality. you have a 70% of everybody who's 35 and younger favors marriage equality. so i think when you see that kind of shift in people's
attitudes what you can expect to see is the supreme court recognizing that it's simply not tolerable any longer to deprive people of the ability to get married based on their sexual orientation. >> rose: so you have... it seems also, i mean in terms of certain political constituencies beyond some of the gay and lesbian community that it is almost a test now. >> absolutely. and if you look at the way racial equality developed, a critical turning point when it... was when it became no longer respectable to discriminate based on race. i think it's become no longer respectable to discriminate based on somebody's sexual orientation. and when you see that happening, the law has to follow and we're far ahead in terms of public
attitudes on this issue than we were on racial issues. when the united states supreme court held that it was unconstitutional to prevent blacks and whites from marrying, two-thirds of the country opposed interracial marriage. so we're much farther ahead on this issue at this time than we were on some of the landmark civil rights cases involving racial discrimination. >> rose: why do you think the president of the united states has not been more forthright? >> i think he is looking for the right time. >> rose: the right political time or what? >> i'm not sure exactly. >> rose: yes you are. >> he's moved tremendously in the last three years. >> rose: from what to what? >> from i think a position where he was saying he thought marriage was between a man and a woman. he had said that in the past. >> rose: removed that to
civil... >> to being very supportive of civil unions but also in his most recent comments recognizing the importance of marriage, recognizing the importance of marriage equality. remember it was his administration that said they could not any longer defend the so-called defense of marriage act. that discriminates in terms of federal benefits based on sexual orientation. so i think like most people in this area i would like to have seen him move faster farther. but i think you can't take away from the fact that he is farther along on this issue than any president we've ever had. >> rose: but it does suggest the political reality that he was looking at. >> i think everybody in politics
has to look at the political realities and i think everybody has to figure out when is the right time. you recall that when president clinton was a long-time support supporter of equal rights tried to reform the military, the best compromise he could get was at that time "don't ask, don't tell." >> rose: right. >> people forget "don't ask, don't tell" started out as progress. but it was only halfway progress. and by the time senator gillibrand and the others led the fight last year, they were able to eliminate that and really get equality in the military. >> rose: it's interesting because i had a leading conservative thinker here and i just said to him tell me one area in which you have changed your opinion over the last 25 years and he said "same-sex marriage." >> and the kato institute that is probably the preeminent conservative think tank-- now maybe they wouldn't like that
particular label but i think that's the way they're thought of-- strongly supports marriage equality. >> rose: characterize the argument made by your opponents in california when you made the case for same-sex marriage. >> i have a really hard time characterizing them. i'm usually very able and i think you know to be objective and to come up with what i think the best arguments are on the other side. >> rose: right. >> i can't see the arguments on the other side here. i don't think they have an arguments. they've got a bumper sticker. >> rose: what did they argue? >> they just keep repeating as if it were a mantra "marriage is between a man and a woman." that's the question, that's not the answer. they didn't have any policy reason. they didn't have any legal reason. this is a situation in which we said we would prove at trial that marriage was a fundamental right. they agreed with that. we said we were going to prove that depriving gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry seriously hurt them and seriously hurt their children.
their own experts admitted that at trial. we said we'd prove third that depriving gays and lesbians of the right to marry didn't help anybody and their experts admitted that there was no evidence, none, that permitting gay and lesbian marriage would have any deleterious affect on anybody else or on the institution of heterosexual marriage. that's the end of it. when you prove those three things-- as we did at trial-- there isn't any basis for the state to say "we're going to discriminate against some of our citizens." >> rose: if, in fact, the supreme court says "we decline to hear the case." was where does it go then? to the political arena or the legal arena in another way? >> i think it goes probably to the legal arena and political arena both in other states. assuming the united states supreme court does not take this case and the current decision
holds, you'll have marriage equality in california. but you will not as a matter of law have marriage equality elsewhere. you're going to have to bring another lawsuit to establish that or you're going to have to do what we did here in new york which is establish marriage equality. >> rose: by legislative act. >> by legislative act. and, of course, that's exactly what happened in the area of racial equality. some states got there legislatively and the other states that continue to discriminate were brought there to the judicial system. >> rose: are we looking at a culture war now or is this as you believe not a war but this is, in fact, a debate that's been won? >> i think this debate is over with. >> rose: right. >> i think if it was a cultural war-- and it certainly was a cultural war at various times in the past-- that war is over. when 70% of the younger half of your country in society believes something that's a fundamental right, that war is over because
eventually they're going to be our age and the people that are coming up beneath them are even more committed to the idea of equality. remember our country has the concept of equality baked into our soul. it has been for 200 years. we've discriminated against people because we've been able to convince ourselves that they were different. somehow disfavored compared to us. that's the way that minute dealt with women, that's the way that whites dealt with blacks, it's the way protestants dealt with jews and catholics and it's the way heterosexuals have dealt with gays and lesbians. our country has constantly expanded the concept of who we the people are until the only people that are outside that circle-- at least from a legal standpoint, not from the
standpoint of social discrimination which still exists, from but a legal standpoint-- are gays and lesbians. and what this decision in california does is it says once and for all everybody is equal and that's something we've been trying to get to in this country for a long time and that's why yesterday was such a great day. that was great day for california, it was a great day for gays and lesbians. it was a great day for america. it was a great day for everybody who believes in the culture of equality that is really the fundamental identifying characteristic of this country. >> rose: what's interesting is this argument made into california was made into a dramatic play. there was a playwright and i think it was... had several presentations here in new york. i think it was morgan free man that played you. it's now going to be made into a movie. are you ready for this? george clooney is going to play
you. >> (laughs) i'm ready for it. >> rose: so the story continues. clearly david boies is on one side of this debate. he believe this is debate is over. many people have made that point but there are also people who believe there is an argument to be made and we will certainly try to find the right person to come here and make that case. my thanks to david boies. we'll be right back. >> thank you very much. >> rose: stay with us. benge man brafman is here. he is best known for handling high profile criminal cases. jeffrey toobin of the "new yorker" magazine called him the single best lawyer ever ever seen in a courtroom. he recently represented i.m.f. chief dominique strauss-kahn in a sexual assault case that became an international media sensation. benjamin brafman joins me for a conversation about the media, about criminal justice and about the subject of celebrity.
welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: give me your assessment about what's right and wrong with the dominique strauss-kahn case. >> that case more than any case i've had in the last 35 years brought a new level of intense scrutiny because it was world media. when new york was going to bed europe was waking up. it was 24/7 cycle. it was relentless... >> rose: and an international personality. >> we were on the front page of every newspaper in the world we were told and there were hundreds and hundreds of reporters. it unlevel it is playing field substantially and i think the real challenge to lawyers in this vortex of media... i call it a media tsunami, we have to maintain our focus and be disciplined and not allow the media to help you or hurt you. >> rose: and how do you do that? >> i think it comes with experience, i think it comes with understanding that you're not looking for a good press day. you're looking to win the case. i've said if you have a bad
press day but win the case no one will remember but if you have a good press day at the cost of winning the case no one will remember the good press day if you lose the case. so i think we need to look at the end game and the end game is how you survive and how you either get a case dismissed or go to trial without having compromised any of the defenses available to you. >> rose: do you try to manage the media or be very, very disciplined about the media. >> i think you are really disciplined about the media. we sometimes use experts and public relations specialists to keep the media at bay or issue a non-comment one time to 1200 people. >> rose: or speak to them off the record. >> not really because i'll tell you what happens. it's impossible to manage the media in the dominique strauss-kahn type of case because there's too much going on and there's no accountability in many ways for certainly media unlike this where you have time to think and gather your facts. they're working instantly. they have deadlines that are minute by minute. especially now with all of the
intellectual property media that we have social networking, people bloging in the courtroom, we have reporters having ten-minute deadlines before they need to post. so they don't even wait until the outcome of the ten-minute proceeding you're involved in. >> rose: how difficult was it for a client like him who had a record in terms of his relationship with women which in no way suggested rape but a reputation which he frequently was not embarrassed by and acknowledged even in conversations with his wife. you know that's there but it has nothing to do with whether you committed a crime or not. >> well, that's the key, what you just said. it has nothing to do with whether you committed a crime yet it creates the impression you did commit a crime. >> rose: or you could have. >> or you could have. and i think you really need to not let that distract you and not let that become the focus of what you're about. you can't address every comment by a woman who's going to come
out of the woodwork on a case and say "me too, me too, me too." the objective was to demonstrate a crime had not been committed. we were not looking to get dominique strauss-kahn an award for fidelity or an award for being a gentleman. that was not the issue. it was nobody's business how he lived his life until he was charged with the crime that he didn't commit. >> rose: when you first sat down to talk to him. what was your imperative? what did you want to know from him. >> well, i found out fairly quickly, both bill taylor and i found out quickly he did not commit a crime and some of the things he told us, some of the things we found out independently made it absolutely clear as a bell to us that a crime had not been committed. and what you then do with that information depends on where the case is going. we did not even have time to regroup that case is on such a fast track. i'll tell you what i did find out about him, he is an extraordinarily intelligent man, he got it immediately. he recognized that the media was going to bash him and bash him and bash him and that the
objective was not to respond to the bashing, the objective was get him out of the clutches of the criminal justice system, which we did. >> reporter: but staying with that case. you want to know everything that happened in the room. >> correct >> but it was a nine minute encounter so it was not rocket science to find out what happened in the case. some cases takes more investigative work, more field work, more research here it was he said; she said nine minutes in a room what happened. and the physical issues that we were dealing with made it to us absolutely clear that what she was claiming happened did not happen and thus we have to then convince the district attorney and ultimately the court. but we were not trying to win public opinion at that stage because that would have been like trying to surf on a tsunami wave. you have to wait until the wave passes over otherwise you drown in it. >> rose: did you find out about her own history before the
prosecution found out? >> i think we found out some things. to their credit they did a lot of their own investigation, there was dialogue going on throughout. but at the end of the day i give cy vance high marks at the end of this ordeal for having the guts to stand up and say "we're tossing this case." it would have been much easier for him to say "let's try and and see what happens." >> rose: but do you give him low marks... not him but those who rushed to do the things they did or was it the only course that they have. >> i've taken the position-- and i don't want to look back and try and do it again. but i will tell you one thing that nobody really focuses on, which is interesting, things happen quickly at the beginning of the case. you have an allegation of serious misconduct. you have someone who's an international person on a plane. they have no idea where he's going, whether they could get him back. i don't fault every step at the early stages. i fault some more than others because i think there was a mistake made in rushing to indict. i don't think he was ever a bail
risk and i don't think that assessment... >> rose: so he should have allowed him to leave on the plane or not? >> no, they should have allowed him to get off the plane, allow the case to proceed with an investigation before an indictment. we convinced them not to indict, it's easier than stopping a case before an indictment than after. i've had 20 of these cases not involving high profile people who where it's either allegation or angry girlfriend or spouse and we clear up the mess before someone gets arrested. >> rose: how do you clear up the mess? >> some cases start with an allegation by someone who comes to the table with his or her own agenda. they hate the person they're claiming did something wrong. they want to get even with someone. and once you understand who the players are i think you can convince the district attorney, convince the police department that this is not a good case, that you won't win that this case that should not be brought and very often if you're not in the glare of the media and these discussions are going on quietly often these cases don't result in arrests or prosecutions and
many of the allegations of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct do not get prosecuted. >> rose: or rape. >> or rape. >> rose: we may be looking at one now. >> i think you are. i think you are. i think ultimately in my judgment knowing nothing about the case other than what i think i think greg kelley will not be prosecuted. i think case is probably falling apart as we speak. >> rose: okay, but when you say that, what damage has been done? >> the damage is irreparable. >> rose:er repairable? >> irreparable. dominique strauss-kahn today would be president of france. now he's not. allegations will follow him and every time you google him for the rest of his life they will always be there. to his credit he is not bitter. >> rose: not biter? >> not bitter. >> rose: understand that i had a bad... >> obviously something went on in that room. he's acknowledged that or the conventional wisdom is some kind of sexual contact took place in that room. i'm not sure what he's acknowledged or not. he did an interview that seemed
to suggest that and i don't remember the exact points in that interview because... but you do. >> we took the position from the very beginning that the encounter, whatever happened, was not forcible and... >> rose: so there was sexual contact, not criminal. >> it was not criminal. whatever happened there was private and not criminal and therefore what really happened is not anybody's business but what this man has suffered as a result of that nine minute encounter is it's irreparable and you never get your reputation back. there will always be those people who will suspect that something bad did happen and even if something criminal did not happen there will always be people who will never forgive him for having poor judgment that allowed himself to get into that situation. but when you think about where he was an hour before this incident and where he was two hours after the incident, it's frightening. it's frightening. and i give him credit because i've dealt with a lot of high profile people, a lot of celebrities. not a moment of complaint, not in a moment of anger, not a moment of bitterness he was not
a client who you have to wrestle to the ground and keep quiet. he understood, he was having a heart attack and bill taylor and i were the cardiologist and he was going to listen. the same thing for ann sinclaire, a major journalist. and a brilliant woman who had been a journalist her whole life. she got it from the beginning. we cannot listen and respond to the media. we need to focus on extricated dominick from the criminal justice system. >> rose: so your judgment of how the media responded to all this is outrageous or understandable. >> it's a little bit of both. i understand the media, i think, better than most lawyers because i've dealt with many high profile cases. they have a job. i think the media is important. i think on balance the media is good for democracy. the difficulty with the media as i see it in dealing with public figures, there's no accountability. you can't sue a newspaper, you can't see a t.v. station, they get it wrong and say okay, but
we had a source that was in our view reliable. so the source got it wrong but we acted responsibly as a journalist. you can't fault them because there's an editor saying you have to have this posted by 2:00 p.m. and it's 1:45 and your competition as just posted. i was in the courtroom watching the journalists from france blogging as the proceeding was going on and i walked up afterwards and i said "don't you want to wait until the end of the proceeding? you're writing what's ultimately going to prove to be wrong?" he said "i can't, my competition is posting as we speak." so right or wrong wasn't the issue. >> rose: i often argue the problem in journalism is not so much bias as commerce and competition. >> i think that's a very well spoken observation. i a'm not intimidated by it but when you come out and speak in front of 500 cameras that are broadcasting out to the world. it's not scripted. it's an on going process.
you're trying not to speak about the facts because you shouldn't. your lawyers for the complaining witness are holding press conference after press conference talking about things you know to be wrong and you have to bite your tongue. >> rose: one more question about the dominique strauss-kahn case who i knew and met him a number of times. >> brilliant. >> rose: and knew ann sinclaire well from my friendship with many people in paris. it's that the story came out in the new york review of books written by ed epstein. what did he say and what do you make of it? >> i think what epstein said is that there are certain facts surrounding the dominique strauss-kahn case which suggest that there are people in positions of power who had something to do with what happened at the hotel. whether he was set up from jump street or whether after the incident happened they saw this as an opportunity to derail his presidential aspirations. i think it's a combination of
both. there are things about that case that bill taylor and i combine have had 70 years of criminal justice experience have never seen before. there are fact which is i'm not at liberty to discuss that are unexplainable. >> rose: tell me a fact that's unexplainable that you are at liberty to discuss. just unexplainable. that doesn't go to the heart of his... >> well, what happened in... there are a lot of questions that were never answered. a lot of questions about the timing of events. >> rose: tell me. what are they? >> well, within minutes of this incident there is an allegation and within minutes the police are not involved. there's hotel security involved. the hotel security was not corporateive at all with us in our investigation and for us i don't believe they were ever corporateive. and the hotel security is owned by an interesting group of he tells. it has a reputation among some of the people who you would consider international figures
as an interesting place that attracts all sorts of interesting people. i think the hotel knew who he was immediately. i think any claims by security, by the maid, by the people who helped are not true. and there was a rush. there was a rush here where no one stopped in the hotel in the way they proceeded and what epstein uncovered-- which is unexplainable and hasn't been explained-- is that there is video footage. the two security guards who took the statement from the complaining witness in this case who are high fiving each other and dancing a jig in the corridor outside the security... this is before the police come in. and the only explanation that bill taylor and i believe to be reasonable is they are very, very happy that this has happened on their watch. >> rose: why might they have been happy? >> i think the people who they ultimately gave this information to wanted to see dominique strauss-kahn's career derailed and help a feeding frenzy with
respect to the new york media. >> rose: because they got a slap on the... they got an atta boy from their superiors because they told them this information or they were instructed to try to create a situation that would be embarrassing by dominique strauss-kahn? >> i think it's a little bit of all of the above. >> rose: really? that there were people who wanted to embarrass him and acted on that when they had an opportunity. >> i don't have any doubt that that has happened. in this case? >> yes. but what i'm not saying is that that means he was set up from the beginning. what i am saying is once they realized who was in the poe potential cross hairs i think information was fed up the chain of command if you will and ultimately made its way across into europe. >> rose: but you're saying this took place... this kind of realization took place after the complaining witness made her charge or before? >> we don't know. >> rose: but you think it's a question that may have been before >> epstein has reasonable questions. >> rose: i'm not asking epstein.
you. you believe there might be reason to think that something before was in play before that maid walked in that room? >> i am not convinced that that did not happen. >> rose: i hear you saying that maybe dominique strauss-kahn believes that somehow they were out to get him and got him. >> i think there are many people in europe who believe that. >> rose: well, france that was a ripe rumor at the beginning in france. >> i think it was more than a rumor and i think it was a believe among many and it was a belief among many that i at first dismissed as, like, give me a break. and then i haven't completely become a believer but i'm not dismissive of a notion. >> rose: but that says something you're not dismissive. >> that's correct. and it has nothing to do with the new york county district attorney's office, it has nothing to do with the rank-and-file in the police department that i believe were on the ground. it's on the level that i will
never maybe break into. >> rose: but clearly when you sit here at this table and say that... i haven't heard you say this much before, you may have, it's clear five investigative reporters are listening to this saying "i'm going to work on this." >> god bless them. >> rose: there must be people trying to prove this pont. that's a huge story. >> there's a guy in france writing a book about the first 24 hours of this case. that's all he's focusing on, the arrest and the bail hearing. >> rose: i find this fascinating as you obviously know. the broader question, we've talked about media, we've talked about a particular case. what makes you good. what makes jeffrey toobin, who is a harvard law graduate, who clerked at the supreme court, who was a brilliant writer, who knows a lot about law and the way it works at every level say you're the best he's ever mean? a courtroom. what do you have? >> well, i'm flattered by jeffrey's comments and i appreciate them very much. i'm not convinced that i'm the best. i'm good at what i do.
i work incredibly hard as you do to be good as what you do. i think i have certain street savvy that i think you have. i think i've developed a lot of experience. i've learned a lot over the last couple of years and i think when i look at my past 35 years i think i know a lot of lawyers who as smart or smarter. maybe better at this than i am. but i haven't met anybody who's worked harder than i have. >> rose: that's my narrative, too. everybody i've ever known who's good, that's what they say that. 's the common link between achievement. it's achievement. >> no short cuts. >> rose: you pay your dues, work really, really hard. >> you can be an n.b.a. professional or it can be a criminal lawyer or a writer. >> and you have to be blessed with a measure of luck as well because... >> rose: timing and luck and intelligent, all those things play together. but of those, the one common denominator i have found is the
level of passion and the level of endurance and persistence and focus. >> i agree completely and i think the passion and persistence is probably the two most important. you can't do this at this level without the passion and persistence. >> rose: i want to close with this, too. the idea of interrogation. what have you learned about how one goes about getting the information, the fact, the opinion, the conclusion that you want to hear. >> well, i think each instance is sort of fact-specific but i think part of the process is being better prepared than the person you're going to question or as prepared on the subject matter you're going to question them about as they are. reading everything there is to know about the person, studying the person, a lot is... involves people skills. and there are different approaches. people think i'm a very tough
cross-examineener. they've described me as beating the truth out of people verbally. and yet the most effective cross-examinations i've ever done have been gentle cross-examinations where i've moved the person from what they were saying on direct examination into what was really the truth by gentle probing and by not screaming and yelling and shouting. but by suggesting that they were mistaken or that they were trying to be truthful but were inaccurate and that sometimes is part talent, part intuition but most, like we said before, it's being the most prepared american the room. >> rose: that and convincing the person at the other side that i'm simply trying to find out, help me try to find out the truth. in pursuit of truth rather than convincing the person that i'm out to get you. >> i think a lot has to be said for making the person comfortable if you're not making... not trying to make them out to be a liar and whether you're looking for what
they believe to be the truth or not, the truth is somewhere in the middle. what i have found about the cross-examination and questioning is people believe the world is black and white. it's not. it's gray. and there's a little bit wrong in almost everything someone says after the fact about what they saw weeks or months ago and what you need to find out is what's real and what's not real and when i deal with the issue of reasonable doubt, which i think is an important standard when someone's freedom is at stake, i need to find out what's real and not real and see if there's room for doubt and then part of this as a passionate advocate is educate ago jury of normal people that they have a very, very big role in this process. that in truth they are the triers of the fact. they are the judges and that their decision is going to impact on someone else's life. and part of what i think jeffrey toobin sees when i work, i think part of what i think impressed him with my work was the passion
that i bring to the table. the recognition that i'm holding someone else's life in my hands on a revolving table, on a live script with someone taking that everywhere they say. it's hard. >> rose: and to convince the jury that they appreciate the enormity of their own task so that they take seriously and do not want to make mistakes. >> rose: and i think jurors on balance do. when you pick juries, you see them... when they're in the general pool, you see a lot of people sitting back, they're not put together well, they don't look like they care. sudden they they're picked and the guy's wearing a sweater and jacket and his hair is combed and the day before he looked like a homeless person. suddenly he steps up to the plate and says "i'm going to be a juror in the trial." i like that. it shows they understand the real importance of what have this is all about. newspaper thank you for coming.
>> pico iyer is here. a novelist and essayist writes regularly for "time" magazine, born in oxford to indian parents he lives between japan and california. his latest work is called the man within my head. part memoir, part travel diary, the book's title refers to graham greene's first novel "the man within." although they never met, iyer recounts the mysterious connections he's always folt the english author. i'm pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> i'm delighted to be here. >> let's go to the book. you never met graham green. >> right. >> rose: and this is not so much... you tell me. this is so much what? >> it's a mystery. i could give you lots of reasons and lots of things that we have in common but i don't think the things we have in common would explain it. i grew up in oxford, the same street next to which he lived. i went to classic english boarding schools he went through. because of those classic english boarding schools i'd never been good at settling down and i've found my way to saigon, havana,
paraguay. and i've always been interested in the complexity as he famously was. and yet i think the power of affinity lies outside. you walk into a room, see a stranger and somehow you feel as if you know her better than the people you came to. >> rose: you feel that way about graham greene. >> i do and i feel he knows me better than my friends and family do somehow. >> rose: because of what he writes? >> that's right. and because of some shared patterns in our behavior. >> rose: the shared patterns having to do with the trail that you just described. >> partly so, yes. >> rose: and what else? >> maybe some temperamental things. a kind of restlessness, unwillingness to be fit into a category or a definition. i think he had that and i shared that partly because of what you said in your introduction. and as someone who is 100% indian by blood but grew up in indian and as an american resident now into japan i'm never happy to be pushed into a single box and he knew that
condition. >> your father was a scholar. >> yes. >> rose: moved to california. >> yes. >> rose: so you are part californian with an english background. >> yes. from the time i was nine years old i was going back and forth six times a year. between my father's house and '06s california where as you can imagine the students were burning down the bank of america down the road, razing to the ground the foundations of society as we knew it and the exact opposite, the graham greene world, the school set up in the year 1440, you had to class everyday, recite the lord's prayer in latin. so i think part of that i got the sense my home was neither in england nor in california but in the movement between them and in the passages and the cracks in commute between these two. >> it's a push and full for you? >> it is. and i suppose as the years go on i began to associate england with skepticism and california with a kind of faith orar dorr and try to think how can i balance these two in my life and keep both alive. >> rose: this is, as i said, a
memoir in part. a memoir of the journey you have taken. >> yes: and a bit of an anti-memoir, too. and a counterbiography. but i tried hard to make it not exactly memoir and biography. not quite fiction, not quite non-fiction but something shimmering in that dream state where we can't define things. >> rose: was this therapeutic to write? >> it was. >> rose: a car that are sis or whatever you might say in >> all of that. all of the things i admire in green is his readiness to look unflinchingly at his worst tendencies or his darker parts and i thought that's something anyone can gain from. so i look at the parts of my life i'd rather not look at. >> rose: what is that? >> not belonging, for example. always being hungry for looking around the next corner. loving travel. and i think one thing that moves me about greene he takes those tendencies such as his love of flight and inability to commit
and his books are cross questionings of himself so in this book, for example, i remember at one point i'm sitting in a little hotel room in bhutan and lights have gone off across the city, in fact across the country, probably. i'm reading the graham greene book "the comedians" by the flickering lights of a gas fire and suddenly i think what am i doing in this country where... with which i have no commitment or with which i have no relationship. why am i not with my new love in japan? why am i in a hotel room? >> rose: but he had this commitment phobia. how would you describe it? he couldn't make commitments so he saw lots of prostitutes and all of that. >> all of that. but also his religion and nationality. he was an englishman in flight from england, he was a catholic who didn't believe in god. he presented himself as a sinner yet i think he presented this beautiful doctrine really about kindness. he was a tangle of contradictions but he turned those contradictions to good use. >> rose: is this an effort to understand the hold he has on
you or is it an effort to release it? >> i think to understand it, as a result of spending eight years i would gladly spend the rest of my life reading his books and thinking about and writing forever. >> dave: really? you spend your life doing that? >> i could, i think. >> rose: you could be preoccupied with that? >> i could. the way you are with a close friend and the deeper a conversation you have with a close friend the less you want to leave that conversation for much more superficial encounter and the smallest thing in graham greene will move me now, as with a close friend. you know how with a wife or somebody you know well you'll hear a pause in a sentence or see the way she moves her hair back and you realize the emotions behind that and it becomes explosive. each time i rewrite "the quiet american...". >> rose: which is your favorite. >> which is my favorite and i get more moved each time because i feel i can read him and see him more intensely. >> rose: and you believe also that book has lessons not only for vietnam but also lessons for iraq and other examples of
impeer yol intrusion into another state? >> exactly so. it's interesting as you perhaps know when the book was filled not so long ago it was screened before its producers on september 10, 2001 and then they couldn't release it for more than a year because it so prophetally anticipated what was going to happen. >> rose: this is the michael caine version? >> it was. >> rose: and brendan fraser and this beautiful asian woman. >> so there's a book written in 1955 that was too topical in 2001. >> rose: how autobiographical was it? >> i think very much. greene is interesting because when he wrote memoirs he offered lots of colorful stories and childhood memories and accounts of fascinating characters but all his memoirs exercise an invasion. he doesn't tell us about the people... >> rose: what's that about? >> he's a reserved eng lishgman who knows how to keep his privacy. give him a fictional project and
he's very naked and vulnerable and he has this great gift of being intimate and revealing himself. do so i think the quiet american is close to his heart. >> rose: are you attracted to the espionage aspects of his life? >> i'm not. >> rose: i thought. so >> i don't know how he was interested. it was really the quest for faith and the poignancy of greene is he always says he knew what peace and happiness and innocence were but he could never get to them and maybe if he'd got to them he'd have argued hipts out of them. >> is there anywhere you know of a relationship between a writer and another writeer that has driven a life >> yes, i think nearly everybody watching the show has some actor or singer or person from history or person from fiction that they relate to very strongly. or that they feel is in fact close to them than their own siblings or parents. one of the things that's so fascinating is in the course of writing this i ran into seven or eight different books by people who absolutely haunted and possessed by greene.
some saw him as an inspiration, some saw him as almost a devil who had taken residence in possession of their soul. but he had a gift even more than writers who were perhaps more highly regarded that getting under the skin and into into the soul of people. >> is he your best friend? your adopted parent? your men snore is he your god? is he your soothe sayer? >> wonderfully said. all of those, actually. if he's a god he's a very human god which means a more approachable god. he is a soothsayer because i have felt that i'm a figment of his imagination and he's telling my future. i feel i know him as well as my best friend and he has been something of a shadow parent. just to write this book i wrote 3,000 pages fully fact checked and proofread to create these 240 so i shows i've spent eight years doing nothing but walking through his being and you're right. it's really the graham greene i imagined not necessarily the ones his friends would remember. >> rose: you close this by
saying before you go to abacknowledgment you say "there weren't many things i had to ask him. his life was an open book, he laid himself naked to the world. if i met my father i might have asked something that would always prevent me from broaching the difficult stuff, how much did you really believe, what is it that most compels you, where did the lines of faith run in you and stop? but with greene there would be no need or words at all. he knew me better than i did myself. i knew him better than i knew louis or my father or many people closest to me when it came to his secrets, his sins and most intimate needs. i closed the door on father's temporary residence and got back in my car to drive up the hill to where a rebuilt house, no longer yellow, sat alone on a ridge an acquired american inside a faded orange book was ready to keep me company with talks about importance of never mocking innocence too readily and the snarled that unvariably turned around compassion." >> (laughs) sounds beautiful read like that. thank you. >> rose: what were you saying
there? >> that it's the nature of a writer's life to reveal himself and open himself to the reader that you know much more about the writer than you do about your parents. and i think in green's case especially because he was so hope i feel i know his most intimate terrors and i'll never know those about my mother and father nor should i. >> rose: i disagree with that "nor should i." why do you say that? "nor should i." >> i think there are a lot of things a parent should know about a child and a child shouldn't know about a parent. >> rose: give me one example. sins? >> yes. >> rose: fears? their... ambitions? what? >> i think fears and ambitions you can often tell. and the sins you don't know. all the sins that took place before you arrived on the world. their private life, their relations with the nearest and dearest. >> in other words, if your father had had some a child you didn't know about from another mother you would not want to know about. >> no and i don't think he would
owe me that knowledge, either. >> rose: but would wontn't want to know? >> no. and all of us need to curtain a lot from our parents and much about my life that i don't think i would want to know necessarily. >> rose: see, i have this idea which may be simple and it is that the great regret that i have even though i was very close to parents-- and i was an only child-- there was nothing unsaid in terms of affection, love, respect, admiration, understanding on both sides that we had all three made each other bet better, more whole, and it was a loving triangle. my parents, as i said. but i do regret, deeply regret with the skills i have that that i do not go to them in an informal, intimate, casual way and record for all time who they
were, who they thought they were who they wanted to be, what had made a difference would it made them happy and sad, what had they loved and all of that and all of that. and my father once took me to a family cemetery and he was able to walk because he was a magnificent storyteller. far succeeded my own ability. he could go to each tombstone and tell a story. and all of that. >> i think that's part of family and that's part of the ongoing process. of generations >> i agree with you. beautifully said. and while saying i wouldn't want to know everything, i would love to know more. my mother turned 80 last year and i held a little party for her and just before the party some of her friends said "why don't you interview her." and i said "i'm in charlie rose. i shouldn't be doing that." but she was game. she's an adventurous mother. so i asked her a few questions and one of them was "at the end
of your eighth decade, what is the main lesson you've learned? " she said "that you can never know another person." i never saw that coming. in all the years i've known my mother i never thought that. so i also was taken aback because that probably mean she is doesn't know me as a son and maybe didn't know her husband and interviewing in that sense is a way to broach topics. >> rose: this book is called "a man within my head." this is obviously graham greene. >> yes. >> rose: this is your father and this is you? >> that's right. in oxford in probably 1959. >> rose: congratulations. thank you for coming. >> thank you, it's been a delight. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org